What does a bird’s eye view of the compliance profession look like? Join us on this episode of Great Women in Compliance with Rebecca Hughes Parker, the Global Editor-in-Chief at Anti-Corruption Report and Cybersecurity Law Report, as she talks about the biggest trends in compliance, what it’s like to be a woman in a senior compliance position, and the future of women in the profession.
From litigation to publishing
Rebecca used to be a litigation lawyer, where you would have a client and a particular set of facts to focus on to advocate for that client. Now that she’s in publishing, she can step back and examine the law and compliance approaches from all angles, see the bigger picture and communicate it to people in a way that is clear, but also complex and sophisticated.
Rebecca shares their growth from small beginnings, starting out as the FCPA Report, to launching the Cybersecurity Law Report in 2015.
Biggest trends
There is an increasing focus on moving away from rules-based compliance to having holistic programs that are really embedding the ethical culture into the company. Rebecca also notes the gap between lawyers and technology specialists, especially as we move into the cybersecurity and data privacy space. There needs to be a bridge so the two can speak the same language.
Many trends are also driven by regulations: a big one was GDPR, and the California Consumer Privacy Act is coming into effect next year, both of which have the attention of very many compliance professionals.
Handling third parties is also a huge part of compliance, as they are responsible for a huge part of risk breaches. Due diligence and continuous monitoring of third parties are definitely themes that we have to address.
Women in senior positions
As women, it can be hard to project authority without being called bossy, shrill, or brazen. Rebecca doesn’t feel like she’s alone in having to figure out the best tone to take. And though it’s great that women are thought of as bringing people together and very cooperative, maternal, and nurturing, it can be a little stereotypical and hamper women, making it harder for them to get angry and aggressive and have that be okay.
Rebecca had a stay at home husband for many years, and it’s not easy to change people’s views of what mothers and fathers should be doing. There are uneven expectations for each parent, and she shares how her husband would receive accolades for taking care of the children — which is fantastic, but moms do that all the time.
So to be a working mom with a stay at home dad involved a lot of societally imposed guilt that she had to push away.
Advice to women starting out
This is a really great time for compliance: it’s become a profession on its own and it is such a great community. You can make your own stamp on it and innovate: there are so many ways to think out of the box and there’s more room now for non-lawyers.
Also, women need to get equal pay. Hopefully, we’ll start rolling back the outdated notions about women and what they can do. She shares the story of her friend who was made to wear heels to court instead of her ballet flats, and she remembers thinking, we’ve come so far… but there really is still such a long way to go.
But the more we see women in high places, the more comfortable we get with women in these kinds of positions. So she’s really optimistic.
Rebecca Hughes Parker